Hoping to reach out to the middle class and connect with the urban constituency, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi Saturday met distressed home buyers in the National Capital Region and declared his party’s opposition to the “dilution” of the real estate bill.
“Mujhe aaj kuch seekhne ko mila. Meri soch thi ki zameen ke mamle pe kisan ko, mazdoor ko, adivasiyon ko dabaya jaata hain. Magar aaj mujhe seekhne ko mila, zameen ke mamle pe middle class logon ko bhi dabaya jaata hai. (I learnt something today. So far, I used to think that only farmers, labourers and tribals are suppressed in land matters. But today I learnt that the middle class is also suppressed),” he said.
He said the BJP government has made the UPA II’s “pro-buyer” Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill “pro-builder”. His comments were in sync with the Congress bid to label the Narendra Modi government pro-rich and pro-corporate. Rahul also told home buyers he was ready to visit Noida for a protest.
The Congress has already admitted that the disconnect with the urban middle class was one of the reasons for its dismal performance in the Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP has traditionally performed well in cities. Its key poll promises include changing the urban landscape of India by building smart cities. Hoping to make inroads into the BJP’s urban strongholds, Congress is learnt to have nudged Rahul to meet representatives of home buyers, who had met Congress’s Ajay Maken Friday seeking his help.
Once Rahul agreed, the message was relayed to the NCR Home Buyers Group, an umbrella organisation of abut 30 associations. “We sent WhatsApp messages to our members and managed to assemble about 80 people here,” Markandey Mishra, the group’s convenor, said. Rahul sat with them for over an hour.
He said the government was surreptitiously trying to finish off the real estate bill brought by the UPA government. “I have assured them that I will stand with them. I will help in all ways possible,” he said.
The government was forced to defer the real estate bill last week after the opposition demanded that it be sent to a Select Committee.
Meanwhile, TMC spokesman Derek O’Brien said, “All Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha united five days ago to send Real Estate Bill to a Select Committee. Amused that someone is trying to hog the spotlight.”
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